Three reasons I’m thankful for Seahawks GM John Schneider

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

12s, we have so much to be thankful for as fans of the Seahawks – imagine being a fan of the Cardinals! This is why I’m thankful for John Schneider.

To be clear, John Schneider didn’t do any of this alone. Pete Carroll does have the final say on all things Seahawks, after all. I believe Carroll’s official title is Grand Poobah of the Hawks Nation; it’s something like that. So no, John Schneider didn’t assemble the Seahawks of 2023 on his own. We can’t overlook all the work done by the Seattle staff. People like Matt Berry and Aaron Hineline keep the scouts humming, while Trent Kirchner and Nolan Teasley lead the charge in personnel matters.

But John Schneider is the man who makes it all happen. Sometimes the team has to let players walk because their salaries could be better spent on younger players. Believe me, I know that no one is happy that Bobby Wagner is gone. Jake Luppino brilliantly broke down exactly why the Seahawks – meaning John Schneider – had to let BWagz go. Really it boils down to just two words: cap space. Without that, there’s no extension for DK Metcalf, or Tyler Lockett is traded. Football is a numbers game off the field even more so than on it. John Schneider has proven to be a master of those digits.

Seahawks look very different without the moves of John Schneider

Let’s start with the big bang, shall we, 12s? The trade of future Hall of Fame QB Russell Wilson was shocking, no matter how often we’d heard the rumors. Moving on from Russell Wilson was a body blow for most of us. I probably write a dozen articles over the past few years railing about how stupid the very idea was. And yet, here we are just past mid-season, with a slew of talent on the team, all for one player.

No, Drew Lock wasn’t the quarterback for 2022. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the guy who is in just a bit. But Shelby Harris has been solid in the trenches for Seattle. Noah Fant hasn’t been the guy at tight end, but he’s certainly added a dangerous weapon to the Hawks passing attack. Those are just the players Schneider added directly from the Broncos. If Seattle is still paying Russell Wilson, there likely isn’t enough cap space to add Uchenna Nwosu to the pass rush. Marquise Goodwin has emerged as a reliable number three wide receiver, while center Austin Blythe has helped anchor the offensive line.

Schneider didn’t strike gold on every signing; far from it. But the players that haven’t panned out as expected have all been low-risk projects. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside cost the Seahawks less than their weekly coffee budget. Artie Burns has been injured all year, but his contract doesn’t run much over the monthly bagel allowance. The Hawks have done very well with their signings this season.

Schneider nailed the Geno Smith contract

I’ll admit it, 12s. There were a lot of eyes popping and jaws dropping when the Seahawks announced the money they gave Geno Smith to return to the team this season. What were they thinking? Did they really give $3.5 million to a career backup? Remember, they got the quarterback they wanted in the Wilson trade anyway. You do remember that, right? We all heard Pete and John talk about how much they liked Drew Lock when he was first drafted, and Pete still likes him.

However, there is zero doubt that Geno Smith’s contract is the biggest bargain in the NFL. There are no fewer than 57 quarterbacks making more money than Geno Smith this year. He’s tied with Joe Flacco for 58th. Those luminaries include such talents as Case Keenum ($6.0 million) and Mitch Trubisky ($7.1 million), to say nothing of the true star of the overpaid ranks, the human yo-yo Carson Wentz ($32 million). Bear in mind that Smith ranks in the top five in virtually every category.

Most important of all, Smith obviously knows what the Seahawks did for him. Yes, it was a one-year deal, but it was far more than anyone expected for a projected backup. That $7 million told Smith that he was a legitimate candidate to be the Seahawks starting quarterback. Yes, he’s going to cash in after this historic season, but don’t think for a moment that he won’t remember the men who gave him the chance to finally shine.

John Schneider signed a draft class for the ages

What a draft class, right 12’s? Yes, it’s early, but we could easily see three members of this rookie class make themselves at home in the Pro Bowl next year, and stay for a decade. Does anyone doubt that Charles Cross, Abe Lucas, and Tariq Woolen have already shown they have what it takes to be perennial Pro Bowlers?

The rookie class goes much deeper than those three. Kenneth Walker III got the starting nod a few games later, but he’s clearly a star. By the season’s end, he could prove to be the best of the class. Coby Bryant has shown some growing pains, but he’s still clearly one of the league’s best rookie cornerbacks. Boye Mafe has made strong contributions, and Dareke Young has made more than his share of great plays on special teams. To say this class is special is a gross understatement.

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Is Schneider an indisputable genius? Well, we do need to balance drafting the LOB and signing UDFA Doug Baldwin with guaranteeing Ziggy Ansah $6 million and Luke Joeckel $7 million. Both had been plagued by injuries during their careers. Both players had a ton of talent, but that much guaranteed money wasn’t the best idea. Regardless, for every misstep like those, we’ve seen so many more great decisions, like finding Chris Carson in the seventh round. Like the vast majority of 12s, I am very grateful for John Schneider.